Real Estate Photo Lighting Techniques

One of the decisive factors for successful photos in general and for real estate ones, in particular, might be getting the right lighting.  In the real estate photo lighting, if you get it right, space will look warm and inviting. And viewers see the beautiful scene out of the windows and the interior space as well.

The problems with the lighting that beginner photographers often struggle with:

  • –  Window light and the interior lights often get mismatched, making outside view overexposed.
  • –  The dark corners can be the result of the replacement of interior lights.
  • –  The large rooms are hard to get enough light
  • –  Exterior shots are easy to get shadows and the wrong placement of the sun.

In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all technique for all properties, but the lighting method varies depending on each individual one with different certain features and which one you want to highlight. This article will present the main techniques to get the right real estate photo lighting.

Take the Benefits of the Existing Light


Use the natural lighting


The natural lighting coming from windows can be the first consideration to take beautiful property images. Highlighting the best features of the structures. However, before shooting, make sure that the window views are nice enough to be included. On the other hand, if the views are just a mess of neighbor’s garden, you should just take the use of the light coming in instead of the view included. In this case, set up your camera to have the window on the right or left wall, not directly in the front of the shot. Also, this will allow the natural light to fall on the furniture of the room. This prevents direct light from hitting your lens, reducing contrast flare, and ghosting.

If the lighting from windows does not work or simply there is no window in the room, make sure you turn all the lights.

Position of the camera to get better interior images:

  • –  Capture as much of the room as possible. For the small rooms, the position is often the doorway. Ideally, three walls included in shots will give viewers enough ideas of the size and space of the room.
  • –  For large rooms and houses with windows, it should be where bright windows are angled over 45 degrees away from the center of your lens’ field of view, avoiding high contrast and lens flare.
  • –  Showcase the most valuable furniture and architectural factors

Use Single Bounced Fill Flash

A flash is essential to create good pictures, filling in shadows, and highlighting important features. For example, if you want viewers to pay attention to a high ceiling, you will bounce the flash towards that feature.

In addition, you can use this technique to take a clear window view, still getting a large portion of the room. When the flash is good enough, it is easy to match the window lighting and the interior light. Regarding shooting the exteriors, a hot shoe flash can direct the light towards the structure in order to highlight the property, but not the landscaping. Then, if you want to focus on the landscaping, a flash still works that it can help fill in shadows over the whole shot, not just a part of it.


In large rooms, just one flash does not provide enough light, so multiple flashes are necessary to prevent shadows. Besides, there are fewer dark spots from the placement of furniture and fixtures. However, the bounced flash does not work for the rooms with dark color walls, instead, you need the help of another flash modifier.

See how to use the flash shots in the post-processing stage here.


flash shots

Get to Know Multiple Wireless Flashes

This method is very popular in the real estate photographer community when using multiple flashes doesn’t work. It is the way to get a well-lit room in large spaces and partly because it requires the time-saving setup. Also, this will make up for the drawbacks of multiple flashes which are time-consuming to set up and do not work with well-lit rooms in large spaces.

This method helps highlight the best part of the room. For example, if you have a high ceiling, be sure to have some of the flashes bouncing up to the ceiling, highlighting those tall arcs.


Take Action at the Right Moment

Timing is the best when it comes to real estate photo lighting, both the interior and exterior shots. For example, the interior dusk shots are easy for you to match the indoor lights with the outdoor light and avoid the exposure windows.

For the exterior shots, a sunny day is the best canvas. Schedule your time to have the best sunlight. Then, be aware of the direction of the house, making sure you have the sun shining on the front of the house.

Be aware of the ‘golden hour’ for shooting dusk images that is around 20 minutes before and after the moment the sun sets up. You might need some essential gear including a tripod and a long shutter speed. At that time, you can get the cool blue hue that works well with the real estate photography, and represents the most beautiful lighting.


gold time

Take High Dynamic Range – HDR images

We have talked about the sunny day that is essential to create beautiful pictures. However, it is not always to have that ideal condition. Then, the HDR technique will work, helping perk up shady exteriors. Although it requires some extra work in post-processing, this method will help handle the range of contrast created by too bright windows and interior space, making the most beautiful images.

This is not exactly a lighting technique, but this will help solve the issues relating to lighting. Images from multiple exposures can be combined to handle the rooms without even lighting. cannot be done with just multiple flashes, especially for unevenly light rooms.

On your camera, use the bracketing mode and take multiple photos at different exposures. You should have at least three exposures, including one shot for the windows, one for the interior, and another in between that. The post-processing stage will merge those together to create the final with the perfect lighting.


HDR images

Work on Mixed Lighting

When there is not enough lighting coming through the doors and windows, the result is multiple color casts. This issue needs a lot of work in the post-processing later.

Masking in the lights can help reduce the color correcting time. That’s also the same way you do with the view outside a window. Shoot the rooms both with lights on and off. Mask in the illuminated lights from two HDR composites of each lighting situation. This is good for fixtures that don’t have much illumination but should be seen turned on.

Real estate photo lighting is a big part of this area and it takes some time for a beginner to get used to and certain experience to get the right lighting for the real estate pictures. But if you know how to do it, it is easy to get beautiful pictures.